If you’ve ever been hit with a duplicate charge – being billed twice for the same purchase – you know how frustrating it can be. Sometimes there’s a reason for the double-billing, but often it’s due to a mix-up like a company auto-renewing a membership when you’ve already paid a renewal fee.
Capital One has a new service called Second Look, which aims to alert customers to charges and fees that may not be legitimate. In addition to flagging duplicate charges, Second Look will flag increases in recurring charges and auto-renewals. Customers can then review the charges to make sure they are consistent with their expectations.
Second Look is currently being made available to only select Capital One cardholders, but the company plans to extend the service to all Capital One cardholders in the near future. Second Look will be an automatic benefit for all cardholders and they will not have to sign up or opt-in to be covered.
According to Capital One, two out of three consumers don’t notice duplicate charges on their account statements. Test-marketing of Second Look showed that people were three times more likely to inquire about a charge after getting an alert about it.
When Second Look sends an alert, they include instructions on what to do if they want to challenge the charge in question. They are encouraged to either contact the merchant directly, or follow up with Capital One.
Rising bills and trial periods flagged
Two instances where Second Look may help consumers be more aware are in the case of utility bills that are unusually high, and services, which offer a free trial period and then begin charging.
In the case of utility bills, if a customer uses their Capital One credit card to pay automatically and there is an unexpected increase in a recurring charge, an alert is sent out. In the pilot program, more than 25% of people contacted their utility or other provider to find out why the bill was higher.
Services offering a free trial period before charging, also known as “free-to-pay” services, will also be flagged by Second Look. This way consumers can be sure they know when they’ve been charged, in time to reverse the charge or cancel the membership if they didn’t want it.
Amy Lenander, a vice president at Capital One, said that Second Look is a way for customers to keep track of their spending. “When we see certain activity, like potential duplicate charges, or where we see that some memberships have auto-renewed, we’re going to let cardholders know,” Lenander explained.